I’ve been thinking about this recently. I have a bunch of questions I’ve never gotten a straight answer to. I’m in a similar situation and have done much of what your doing, although I have no electricity.
Where I’m located, there is an impressive variety of grafted citrus trees available. But it’s difficult to know which ones will bear fruit to maturity outdoors in my zone.
For example, If I understand correctly, there are early, mid, and late bearing mandarins that range from September to January for harvest. This is not including the many hybrids available, some of which claim to ripen outside at this time.
We get frost starting around oct/nov. I just had my first big Mandarin harvest off of one of my trees (unknown variety), all ripened up by early nov, so no worries.
What of the citrus that ripens later?
Is there critical point where it must reach before the temperature drops to a certain level?
Do different citrus follow different rules in this regard?
Am I limited to citrus that lists a harvest time before November?
There doesn’t seem to be a clear guide in this regard. For example, my kumquat tree, while by far the hardyest and recommended for cold, never ripens most of the fruit due to cold. While my shikwasa , A subtropical, is reliably giving me my best harvests, every year in sept/October, and is able to pull through the winter with manageable damage.
Also some which are supposed to be ever bearing, such as my Eureka lemon, only seem to put out flowers in September.
On a related note, it’s common to harvest some of my citrus varieties while they are still green (kabose, sudachi, shikwasa, yuzu, etc). This makes it easier to harvest them before the winter, and some taste great as a lemon/lime like sour juice. but I’m wondering when this is a bad idea. For example, I tried this with some Mikan mandarins, and they tasted too acidic and harsh.
What exactly are the qualities of citrus, and what affects them? Sour and sweet doesn’t seem to cover all of the aspects.